Virginia has already been on the map, but Something in The Water made it official.
“It is beautiful to see that everyone realizes that this was always supposed to be more than a music festival,” shared Pharrell in an interview with The Virginian-Pilot. Now that Something In The Water has came and went–I speak for myself and other VA locals when I say this—we’re ready for next year! Pharrell’s festival creation will be back on the Oceanfront for 2020. Check out the source here.
“If you know, you know.” These prophetic words from Pusha T (one-half of the Virginia Beach rap duo The Clipse) were best said on his recent body of work, Daytona. Virginia natives (such as myself) have long recognized Virginia as a hotbed of musical and cultural relevance before the epic scale of Something In The Water. Hampton Roads is up to its neck in talent. It’s no coincidence Something In The Water (SITW) fell under the same weekend as College Beach Week; nor is it a coincidence Pharrell brought us SITW at the right time.
That Friday was supposed to set the weekend tone; unfortunately,
Mother Nature wasn’t letting anyone be great! Rain and thunderstorms prevented the day from running its course. While several people scrambled to various Oceanfront restaurants to take cover, I found myself hiding inside an arcade off 14th and Atlantic. The sun beamed through clouds a few times; nevertheless, the entire festival was shutdown that day.
In the eyes of some, Friday’s rainy forecast washed away high hopes of the festival being a success. I knew better, and I felt it too. Waking up Saturday morning with my optimism still in tact, day 2 of SITW was going to be different. Those words Pharrell echoed to the press, “more than a festival” were sustained by the various activities and community conversations offered throughout the weekend. Furthermore, the vast amount of food vendors, local and beyond Hampton Roads, was enough to keep me distracted from Friday’s fiasco.
More Than A Music Festival
For example, corporate sponsors Adidas and Timberland brought forth forward-fashion (free customizable tote bags and Adidas slides) mixed with grass-root community efforts that reach a global scale(Timberland presented festival-goers the chance to plant traceable trees that will revitalize Haiti’s ecosystem while also handing out free swag). American Express presented an Hampton Roads-themed/SITW Art-Walk scattered throughout the Oceanfront. Pharrell called on Chad Hugo and several other famous guests to join them for a live taping of OTHERtone, Pharrell’s Beats 1 Apple Music radio show. I firmly believe Pharrell took a page from other festivals, applied his own spin for SITW, and created a wave for the next few years.
Saturday’s line-up was like THAAAAAAAAT. A$AP Ferg, SZA, Kaytranada, Travis Scott, and Pharrell and Friends.
Kaytranada is a name everyone should know. He’s worked with names like Syd, Ty Dolla Sign, and his live DJ sets will get you moving no matter who you are! Unfortunately, not everyone was jamming as hard as they should’ve been. I know the word “vibe” is used a lot but it was nothing but tons of those during his DJ set.
If you’ve ever followed me on any social media over the past few years, you’re aware of my love for Solana Imani Rowe, better known by her stage name SZA. (For the record, I’ve been a fan since before her 2017 debut album Ctrl). Her signature free-flowing frolic dance and soulful smooth crooning are staples of her artist brand. There was no one/nothing that could stop me from witnessing her beauty and grace up close and personal for the first time. As powerful as that sounds, it’s a half-truth
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . SZA does make very relatable music; however, her music is mainly from a female perspective. (insert photos/videos here)
Imagine how hard it was for someone over 6-feet tryna stay lowkey while singing songs like songs like “Go Gina”, “Say It Like That”, “Drew Barrymore” and “Love Galore”. Willing to risk any stares I received (and I did get some wild ones), I kept my cool even loudly whispering, “That’s my wife! I love you SZA!” After her set ended, I turned around to look for my dispersed friends. On the journey back to them, I met a random kid with a Ctrl 2017 Tour shirt. When asked about his t-shirt, he told me he was proud to wear it and even prouder to call himself a SZA fan. We dapped each other up and then I left. That small interaction with him made me feel less crazy for admiring her as a fan.
Pharrell & Friends
No Pharrell Williams slander will be tolerated as long as I’m alive. DON’T YOU. DO. IT! Who do know you has enough juice to bring out Snoop Dogg, Charlie Wilson, Tyler the Creator, Missy Elliot, Diddy, and Busta Rhymes on the stage.. on the same night!? P warmed up the crowd rapping some notable hits he’s produced/sang on over the years such as “Hot In Hurrr”, “Alright” and “Mr. Me Too.”
Diddy diddy-bopped and hit us with a smooth, crisp dance number shared along with his three sons. Timbaland gave the crowd nostalgic You Got Served vibes doing “Breathe In, Breathe Out” with fellow VA native and (often-forgotten) veteran artist Magoo. Snoop and Charlie chimed in to help Pharrell serenade the crowd with “Beautiful.” The stars were aligned on the beach.
You know that feeling when you reach the highest of highs, and excitement becomes an out-of-body experience? That’s exactly how I felt when JayZ slyly positioned himself next to Pharrell for his verse on “Frontin'”.
Any ounce of cool I *thought* had in that moment was lost when Jay popped up and continued doing hits like “Izzo”, “I Just Wanna Love You” and my personal favorite “PSA(Public Service Announcement)”.
Allow me to reintroduce myself…my name is Hov!
By the time Sunday arrived, my voice, body, and mind were drained from the whylin’ out I put on for Saturday’s line-up. Nevertheless I kept that same energy from Saturday for Sunday. Chris Brown, Teddy Riley and Anderson . Paak were the last few artists I were ready to give my energy to.
In similar fashion to Pharrell and Friends, Teddy Riley snuck in some surprises throughout his set. 🎶 Doooon’t let me goooooo! 🎶I like the way you work it–No Diggity!🎶
Next thing I know, Coko of the ’90s girl group SWV came thru with her silky summertime voice to perform “Weak” and “Right Here (Human Nature Remix).” Somewhere between “No Diggity” and “Don’t Let Me Go”, Teddy transitions his keyboard playing into “Curious” by Midnight Star, the sample behind Lil Duval’s “Livin’ My Best Life.” Lil Duval jump-skip-hops along the stage and everyone goes nuts!
Light rain came thru and reared its ugly head before Chris’s set causing him to hop on stage 20 minutes later than his 9:10 showtime. To be honest, I’m not even mad he was lip-synching for the most part. He danced so vividly I couldn’t believe the moves I was watching on stage. They were done so smoothly and effortlessly!
Anderson . Paak
Prior to me writing this, one of my friends recently just got hip to Anderson .Paak and I’m sad to inform y’all this person is no longer my friend! 😔
I kid, of course!😜 Without discrediting the legacy of the late soul singer James Brown, I can honestly say Anderson . Paak is the modern day James Brown with a modern approach. When the Chris Brown crowd left, I discretely inched closer towards the stage in an effort to catch the groovy vibe he and his band The Free Nationals gave off to wrap up Sunday night.
Something in the water was…
Overall one of the greatest experiences I’ve been a part of in a while! It’s about time people stop sleeping on Virginia and what we have going on in our hometown. Something is truly in the water, alright.